By: Genn Bugg
Brown & Crouppen ANNOUNCES Diversity, Equity,
and Inclusion Steering Committee
Who We Are and What We Do:
The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Steering Committee is Brown & Crouppen’s most recent effort to support and oversee DE&I initiatives while building equity within the firm. The committee is comprised of representatives from all corners of our workplace where each person brings a unique background, experience, and voice to the group. Genn Bugg, Kimberly Foppe, Joe Frank, Jennifer Heilwagner, Sara Hill, Brandon Jackson, Jessie Oates, and Khevna Patel make up the team where we collaborate with staff, including HR and leadership, in striving for a bias-free workplace and in enabling our staff to better engage with our diverse clientele. Our DE&I Committee’s mission at Brown & Crouppen is to ensure equal opportunity by driving diversity initiatives through recruiting and hiring practices, internal inclusion efforts, and by providing cultural awareness training for all employees.
Mission Statement: “It is the mission of the Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee to cultivate a collaborative, inclusive environment where the contributions & differences of all individuals are valued. At Brown & Crouppen, we ensure that every employee has a hand in the W.I.N. (Workplace Inclusion Now). We are committed to providing equal access & opportunity to ensure all voices are heard while enhancing the human experience so we can all progress together. “
Recruiting and Hiring Practices
Khevna Patel manages the development of diversity-related recruitment, professional development, retention, and advancement of diverse lawyers and staff at all levels. As Manager of DE&I and Head Recruiter, Khevna believes that we have one chance to help shape someone’s future, and everyone should be given that chance.
Internal Inclusion Efforts
The DE&I Steering Committee oversees cultural awareness and educational opportunities for employees via the DE&I Calendar Committee. Membership is open to all employees and the committee is comprised of attorneys, paralegals, administrative staff, leadership, intake specialists, and many others from all departments within the firm. As a committee, they collaborate on monthly internal educational resources and activities to provide through various platforms to the staff. They develop firm wide resources including information, materials, contests, celebrations, community involvement opportunities, to cultivate awareness of diverse monthly holidays/days of observance, historical and current events, dates of remembrance, and much more. The DE&I Calendar Committee is also a place for conversation where discussion is encouraged and a safe environment to share experience is maintained.
In 2020, committee members established Juneteenth as a paid holiday for all employees.
Cultural Awareness Training
DE&I training sessions are provided to train leadership on carrying out equity, diversity, and inclusion. In 2020, the DE&I Steering Committee coordinated inclusive training for the leadership at Brown & Crouppen.
DE&I Speaker Series:
The DE&I Steering Committee created an ongoing DE&I Speaker Series to facilitate effective dialogue, provide insight and training to our staff, and build a culture that is responsive to diversity issues. The series features a variety of moderators who share messages on cultural awareness and diversity. All employees at Brown & Crouppen are encouraged to participate.
Past speaker series topics include:
Racism and Diversity Training with Tim Wise
Disability Etiquette and Awareness Training with Paraquad
Committee Member Feedback
I am very thankful to be a part of the Brown & Crouppen DE&I Steering Committee. I would like to help leaders and employees continue to embrace diversity, equity & inclusion within the firm. I believe with my experience in the firm, I will bring a great deal of knowledge associated with specific departments, hiring practices, firm processes, and any challenges we’ll need to overcome to accomplish our goals. I also look forward to helping create opportunities to develop careers within the firm.
-Sara Hill, Director of Complex Personal Injury and DE&I Steering Committee member
As a member of the DE&I Steering Committee, my goal is simply to inspire meaningful, systematic change toward a more equitable workplace & community. In joining the committee, I have committed to help ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion is (are?) considered in every aspect of the business. We have an opportunity to continue and expand the dialogue regarding underrepresented persons and in doing so, we can create and uphold standards for fair and equal participation, opportunity, and involvement for all people. Impactful changes happen when ideas are viewed through an equitable lens, and I am dedicated to honoring all people and helping to shape our present and future.
-Jennifer Heilwagner, Director of Human Resources & Operations and DE&I Steering Committee member
The DE&I Steering Committee provides various opportunities to enable employees to become more aware of unconscious bias and other barriers to diversity and inclusion, motivate positive behaviors and attitudes essential for creating and maintaining a respectful, inclusive workplace. Khevna Patel leads the Diversity Equity & Inclusion Steering Committee and their efforts to cultivating a workplace where everyone feels valued and included. Khevna plans to create accountability for results and ensure the efforts are communicated to the firm, clients, and the community. Khevna serves as the public voice for Brown & Crouppen’s diversity-related outreach efforts, coordinates the firm’s participation in external diversity events, and is a liaison to employees, clients, and other external constituencies regarding diversity initiatives. For more information, please email email@example.com.